4 routes · Road Biking
Blue Ridge Parkway: Highlands Region
The North Carolina High Country, including Linville Gorge, Grandfather Mountain, Blowing Rock, and Boone.
Road Biking Difficult
- 199 km
- 3.9 km
- 3.6 km
- 1 day +
- Low Point
- 790 m
- High Point
- 1.3 km
Spanning two states, the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) is the longest linear park in the United States, linking Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the NC/TN border. The Highlands Region of the Blue Ridge Parkway connects the NC/VA state line to Crabtree Falls Picnic Area and Campground. Along this stretch, you'll explore the immense beauty of the North Carolina High Country, including Doughton Park, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls, and plenty more!
This portion of the BRP also parallels the Mountains to Sea Trail, North Carolina's premier hiking trail that spans from Clingmans Dome in the Smokies all the way to the Outer Banks!
While this segment begins at the state line, we've mapped it starting at the Cumberland Knob Picnic Area, slightly south of the line. This segment is especially popular with visitors of Blowing Rock and Boone, two High Country towns that offer plenty of overnight accommodations if you are in need of a warm shower or bed. Campgrounds are available along the roadway, or you could head down one of the many unpaved Forest Service Roads in search of a primitive campsite. This mapped section of the BRP also ends at Crabtree Falls Campground.
One major highlight of this ride comes near Grandfather Mountain. As you circle around the massive and craggy peaks, you'll be rewarded with one of the most beautiful stretches anywhere along the 469-mile road. As the last piece of the roadway to be completed, the Linn Cove Viaduct faced delays in construction for nearly 20 years. Completed in 1987, its construction laid a foundation for construction techniques for years to come. The area faced delays primarily due to environmental concerns, as "the mountain boasts 16 distinct ecological communities" and is the highest peak along the eastern Blue Ridge, according to Wikipedia.
The Linn Cove Viaduct can also be explored on this gravel ride that begins outside of Lenoir.
If you have time for a short hike, consider stopping at Linville Falls at milepost 316. The massive waterfall is the gateway to its namesake gorge, "the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon," according to the Blue Ridge Parkway Association. According to Wikipedia, personnel at Linville Falls claim the massive waterfall was used by Native Americans to execute prisoners because surviving the plunge was considered impossible.
There are four visitor centers along this 123-mile stretch of roadway: Doughton Park, Moses Cone, Linn Cove, and Linville Falls. The Museum of North Carolina Minerals is also along this stretch, and open year-round. The NPS notes how it "highlights the area’s rich mineral resources and the mining heritage," and includes "interactive exhibits that explore the creation of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the 3,000-year-old saga of mining."
Milepost 217 - Milepost 340
Click here to view bicycling regulations on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Sources: National Park Service Blue Ridge Parkway Association Wikipedia